White House: Major MN firms enrolling in early retiree health program

WASHINGTON — Nearly 100 Minnesota employers, including some of the biggest firms in the state, have enrolled in a federal early retiree health program designed to bridge gaps in coverage for early retirees who aren’t yet eligible for Medicare.

The White House released the list this morning, part of a strategy to counter skeptical public opinion of the health care law by emphasizing actual buy-in to its provisions. Included on today’s list: U.S. Bancorp, Cargill, Medtronic, Land O’ Lakes, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Ameriprise Financial and both Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

The aforementioned early retiree program is funded under the recently-passed health care reform law and will run until 2014, when state insurance exchanges are required to be formed and operational. The $5 billion reinsurance program reimburses firms for medical costs incurred by their early retirees, spouses, surviving spouses and dependents.

“In these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees. Many Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees as we work to put in place market reforms to lower costs for all.”

Applications are still being accepted for the program, officials said. The complete list of the employers who have accepted already is as follows:

  • ALLETE, Inc
  • Alliant Techsystems Inc.
  • Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
  • American Crystal Sugar Company
  • Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
  • Andersen Corporation
  • APi Group, Inc.
  • Belle Plaine ISD 716
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • Board of Pensions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Board of Trustees of the Twin City Floor Covering
  • Cargill Incorporated
  • Carpenters & Joiners Welfare Fund
  • Children’s Health Care Minneapolis
  • CHS Inc.
  • City of Burnsville
  • City of Detroit Lakes
  • City of Eagan
  • City of Elk River
  • City of Fergus Falls
  • City of Mankato
  • City of Maple Grove
  • City of Moorhead
  • City of Mound
  • City of Redwood Falls
  • City of Savage
  • City of St. Cloud
  • City of St. Louis Park
  • City of Virginia
  • City of Warroad
  • Construction Industry and Laborers Health and Welfare Plan
  • County of Anoka
  • County of Blue Earth
  • County of Blue Earth, Independent School District 77
  • County of Itasca
  • County of Ramsey
  • Crow Wing County
  • Dakota County
  • Deluxe Corporation
  • District No. 77 I.A.M.A.W. Welfare Association
  • Education Minnesota
  • Electrical Workers Health & Welfare Fund
  • Fillmore Central ISD 2198
  • Florida Water Services Corporation
  • Florida Water Services Corporation
  • Heartland Healthcare Fund
  • Hennepin County
  • Hormel Foods Corporation
  • I-B.E.W. 292 Health Care Plan
  • Independent School District 2171 – Kittson Central
  • Independent School District 2683
  • Independent School District 273, Edina Public School
  • Independent School District 332
  • Independent School District 881
  • Independent School District 885
  • Independent School District No. 477
  • Independent School District No. 701
  • Independent School District 508
  • ISD #834 Stillwater Area Public Schools
  • Land O’ Lakes, Inc.
  • Local 434 Health and Welfare Fund
  • Medtronic, Inc.
  • Minnesota & North Dakota Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers
  • Minnesota Laborers Health and Welfare Fund
  • Minnesota Life Insurance Company
  • Misc Drivers & Helpers Union Local #638 Health, Welfare Fund
  • Mower County Government
  • Nexen Group, Inc.
  • Operating Engineers Local #49 Health & Welfare Fun
  • Painters and allied Trades District Council#82 Health and Welfare Fund
  • Plasterers & Cabinet Makers Health Fund
  • Publishing House of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Regents of the University of Minnesota
  • Retail Meat Cutters and Food Handlers Health & Welfare Fund
  • Roofers Local #96 Health and Welfare Fund
  • Roseau County
  • Scott County
  • Sheet Metal #10 Benefit Fund
  • Soo Line Railroad Company
  • South Central Minnesota Electrical Workers Family
  • Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative
  • St. Paul Auto Dealers and District Lodge No. 77 I.A.M.A.W. Joint Fund
  • St. Paul Electrical Workers Health Plan
  • Stearns County Ind School Dist 740
  • TEAM Industries, Inc.
  • Tennant Company
  • The Toro Company
  • The Travelers Companies, Inc.
  • Thief River Falls Public Schools
  • Tri-County Community Corrections
  • Twin City Glaziers Health & Welfare Plan
  • Twin City Iron Workers Health & Welfare Fund
  • Twin City Sprinkler Fitters Health Care Plan
  • U.S. Bancorp
  • Wabasha and Goodhue Cos
  • Washington County
  • Wright Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by dan buechler on 08/31/2010 - 09:52 am.

    Derek thanks for the info I am quite sure some of my former colleagues at the Startribune could use something like this.

  2. Submitted by Randall Phillippe on 11/20/2010 - 05:43 am.

    Derek
    Thanks for writing this article,and for the ability of being able to know a little more about what is going on in the real world.
    These programs have good intent, but are sometimes misused by big companies which take advantage and the customer gets nothing.
    One of the firms in the list, handles my insurance
    and at the moment, I am not a bit suprised to see their name listed.
    I am a early retired union member which had employer contributed banked dollars earned, sitting in an account to pay for my coverage into mid 2011, without increase.
    This firm’s board of trustees moved all members funds for coverage past December 31, 2010 into a non reversable HRA account, which disabled the early retiree as myself, to pay a higher monthly premium of 237.00 monthly.
    Those working are able to only bank 6 months worth of dollars now, but there was no limit prior to August of 2010,and they too, could fall into the same hole, despite having transfered funds diverted.
    I was sure hoping that insurance reform could have made it so that I could have not been so strapped with a 1,300.00 a month premium, while my insurance company makes big profits and then also takes full advantage of this program.

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